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Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category

The other day I was at my son’s preschool to pick him up. Often, we have “big yard” playdates with some of his classmates after school. The big yard is one of the common areas at the school where the kids play on the jungle gym, run around, pretend to be pirates on the big ship and eat leaves from the vegetable garden. On this day there were a lot of kids playing in the big yard, including little girl visiting the big yard with her younger sister. This young girl, who I’ll call Marla, couldn’t have been more than 6.

The Littlest E was playing with his friends as I sat at one of the children’s picnic tables.  Next to me was this beautiful, little girl with long, wavy hair, a round face and doe-like eyes.  The following is a conversation we had. I ask that you read it with the innocence of a 6-year old.

Marla: Is her your son?

Me: Yes, he is.

Marla: He’s really your son?

Me: Yes. Would you like to know how he’s my son?

Marla: Yes.

Me: We adopted him.

Marla: What’s that?

Me: Well, he didn’t grow inside me, but in his birth mom. For whatever reason, she wasn’t able to take care of him and he needed a Mommy and Daddy. My husband and I wanted a family so we adopted him and he became our son.

Marla: He has brown skin.

Me: Yes, he does.

Marla, said with great concern and caring: We have peach skin and there’s no one else here with brown skin. Will he be okay?

Me, smiling: That’s a really good question. He’ll be fine. He has lots of friends and, in his class he has other friends with brown skin.

Marla was quiet for a moment.

Me: It’s a pretty cool thing that there are all kinds of families, isn’t it? There are many ways to become a family.

Marla: Yes.

There’s another quiet moment.

Marla: Do you love him even if he has brown skin?

Me: I love him because he has brown skin, because he’s my son. I couldn’t love him more than if he grew inside me. I love him.

There’s another quiet moment.

Marla then yells to her sister: What are you doing?

Our brief exchange has ended and she left the table to play with her sister.

© 2015 Melanie Elliott

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I truly can’t believe it’s been 4 years since The Littlest E became our son.  Where did all the time go? I’m sure most parents feel the same way when celebrating their child’s birthday, along with tremendous joy and gratitude.  As an adoptive parent, I get to celebrate the birth of our son, and the birth of our family, our Family Day.  I hope I never forget what life was like before The Littlest E came home with us, so that I don’t lose the gratitude I feel everyday that I get to be his Mom.  Adoption is a gift, one that I cherish with my very soul, for without that gift, my life and my husband’s life would be drastically different.

Our Family - 2010

Our Family – 2010

I remember our first days with The Littlest E, all 19 pounds of him.  He didn’t want to crawl; he just wanted to be held and held and held.  It was a big adjustment getting used to each other, but he knew we were his “go to” people.  We were there for him night and day.  At the foster center where our son stayed in Ethiopia before coming home with us, he attached to one of the caregivers so we knew he’d be able to attach to us, and he did.   After being home for a couple of weeks, Tom, my husband, went back to work, and I was at home with our new son.  Quite a discovery we both had during our hours together.

One day, I took him on a tour of our house (which isn’t very big) so he’d feel more comfortable in his new digs.  I got on my knees and crawled around with him from room to room.  Seeing the house from his vantage point, I could imagine how overwhelming his new environment might be.  Yet we had fun discovering each room.  I would explain the names of the rooms and what happened in each.  From that point on, The Littlest E felt comfortable to crawl around.

As time passed, he went from crawling, to waddling, to walking, to running.  Now, he often starts in our kitchen, sprints, and does a running leap onto our couch that is frequently used for tackle wrestling.  Yes, he’s home and we’re home and we’re a family.  Love really does make a family.  Blood doesn’t matter so much.  Families come in many different ways these days.  Thank God for that.  Here’s a poem I posted several years ago when I was writing for an online parenting magazine that I found on a friend’s blog:

The Gift of Life

I didn’t give you the gift of life,

But in my heart I know.

The love I feel is deep and real,

. . . As if it had been so.

For us to have each other

Is like a dream come true!

No, I didn’t give you

The gift of life,

Life gave me the gift of you.

– – – Author Unknown

Our Family - 2014

Our Family – 2014

There’s nothing like waking up every morning knowing our son is down the hall in his room sleeping.  He greets most days with a smile and a snuggle, then it’s time to continue our morning routine.  He’s 5 now and still as active and energetic as ever.  In the evenings when Tom is home, we have family time, usually around the dinner table.  We say our daily gratitudes, takes turns saying a blessing, eat and talk about the day.  It’s a lovely routine.  After that, I do the dishes and Tom gets some good, quality time with his son.  Who could ask for anything more?

I can’t wait to continue to experience life with The Littlest E and our family we’ve created through adoption.  We are blessed to have what we have, live where we live and do what we do.  To those of you who are waiting to be parents, your time will come.  You’ll hold your child in your arms, however that child comes to you, and life will take on new meaning.  Hoping that your wait is short and that your child is with you soon.

This blog can also be found at Mothering In the Middle, an amazing website for midlife parents, where I am a contributor.

©2014 Melanie Elliott

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Mother’s Day is this Sunday in the United States. As the holiday approaches my gratitude for adoption deepens. It is because of adoption that I have the privilege of being The Littlest E’s mom. There are lots of women in the world who became moms through adoption. From talking with some of my adoptive mom friends, this day holds extra special meaning.

While I’m thinking about what this day means to me, I can’t help but think about the first moms who gave our adopted children life. In open adoptions depending on the arrangements the forever parents made with the first moms/dads, those first moms may have contact with their children. Maybe pictures are exchanged, or visits take place. With open adoptions, there’s the possibility of the first mom being in touch with the forever family.

Young Liberian Woman

But in closed adoptions or adoptions where the first moms/dads, for an infinite number of reasons gave up their child, I wonder what they feel not having contact with their child. On Mother’s Day (in any country) is there an extra feeling of loss? Regarding Ethiopian adoptions, parents are required to submit a yearly post adoption report on their adopted child, along with 10-12 pictures, until the child is 18 years old. The adoption agency then sends the report and photos to the Ministry of Women in Ethiopia. If the first mom/dad wants to find out about their child, they can go to the Ministry of Women to see the report. At least that’s what I’ve been informed. I have no idea if first parents in Ethiopia even know about this.

I know someone who gave up her children, though not through adoption, and after many years found her way back to her then grown kids. She told me not a day went by where she didn’t think about them and wonder how they were. I can only imagine what a first mom feels.

In recent months employees, of an adoption agency that processed international adoptions, were brought up on federal charges of fraud. This agency placed children in homes through lies and deception. They deceived first families and forever families. It is sad to say that this happens in a small percentage of international adoptions. In third world countries, unethical people go in, find impoverished families and give the parents money for the child and promise they’ll return them when they’re 18. These families are in such a hopeless situation, they believe what they’re being told and give their child up, not realizing their child won’t ever return home. It breaks my heart that this has happened to too many families. The first family suffers and the forever family suffers. The only bright spot in this mess, if there is a bright spot, is that these unethical agencies are getting caught slowly but surely. Through searchers in many cases, at least where Ethiopian adoption is concerned, forever families are finding the first families and connecting. Hopefully, some kind of healing will take place.

So, on this day, this day that honors and pays tribute to mothers. Let’s honor the first moms. You are not forgotten.

©2014, Melanie Elliott

Image: John Atherton

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You know how certain songs can transport you to various times in your life?  There are a number of songs that do that for me.  Listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen often takes me back to a time when my parents were married and we’d go as a family to a family camp at UC Santa Barbara in the summers.  I remember hearing the song there for the first time and remember the fun times us kids had doing crafts and other activities while the grown-ups did their own thing.  It also reminds me of the movie Wayne’s World which played in 1992 while I was living in Chicago.  I remember cold winters, studying acting, and good friends.

Freddie Mercury - Queen

There’s the theme from A Little Romance, a lovely coming of age film starring a young Diane Lane and featuring Laurence Oliver.  The theme song for the movie is based on the Largo movement in Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Lute, Violins and Basso Continuo in D Major.”  I fell in love with the song then.  It’s stayed with me ever since so much so that it played when I walked down the aisle at my wedding.  Every time I hear that music, I think of the movie and of my parents walking me down the aisle.  I see my husband, Tom’s, face and feel his love reaching out to me.

Vivaldi Sculpture

Today, after I dropped my son, The Littlest E, off at preschool, I was driving home and heard the song “New Slang,” by the Shins.  Listening to the beginning melody, I was transported back to the year 2005 when I sat in the reproductive endocrinologist’s office waiting to have blood drawn to find out if my pregnancy was going to move forward or not.  It was after our first IVF procedure and the excruciating two-week wait that my first blood test result indicated we were pregnant!  They tested every couple of days to make sure the numbers were doubling the way needed to.  So, I sat in the waiting room, listening to this beautiful and depressing song, wondering.  The décor in the room was soothing, and the chairs were very comfortable, but the haunting tune matched my fears.  I was full of hopes and dreams, expectations and longing.

When I got the call a day or two later about that blood test, the nurse told me that my numbers went down instead of up, that there was a 1% chance my numbers would turn around.  I knew, we knew, I would miscarry.  Chemical pregnancy is what the doctor called it.  Your body tells you you’re pregnant, but there’s really nothing viable going on inside.  “New Slang” reminds me of one of the most difficult times in my life.  While in the middle of the whole Infertility Thing, it’s almost impossible to be positive and not let fear infiltrate your entire being.  At least that’s the way it was for me.  I’m a glass half full person, but coping with something like that was a tremendous strain on my spiritual wellbeing and usual positive outlook.  I often mentioned I wouldn’t wish infertility on my worst enemy.

The Shins

The title of this blog is “Echoes of Infertility” because the memory is an echo.  Songs evoke remembrances of good and bad times, and that’s what happened this morning.  I was reminded of a difficult time.  My husband and I are not in the throes of infertility anymore, and I am so grateful for that.  Assisted reproductive technology (ART) didn’t work for us.  It has worked for thousands of couples and women wanting to conceive.  We are blessed to live in a time in history where there are many options to forming a family.  My husband and I reached our stopping point with ART.  We knew we wanted a family and welcomed adoption as an option.

It’s because of adoption that I’m a mom.  The Littlest E, has been home with us for almost 3.5 years and it seems like he’s been with us forever.  Those years of battling infertility melted away and became echoes when our son came home with us.  Now there are new songs that create happier memories, like “I Like to Move It.”  The Littlest E loved the movie Madagascar and has a blast dancing to this catchy, fun, energetic song.  I am overjoyed and so very grateful that our outcome turned out the way it did, wouldn’t have it any other way.  I know I’ll hear “New Slang” again and maybe next time, it won’t trigger me and that echo will have finally diminished.

Images: Jonathan Powell, Scott Rettberg, Mike Mantin

© 2014 Melanie Elliott

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I wrote this blog yesterday while my son was napping and didn’t have a chance to post it until now.

In my last blog, I wrote about The Littlest E discovering gratitude.  I’ve practiced gratitude for many years and it’s a joy to introduce that concept to our son.  I write “practicing gratitude” as if it were a verb, knowing the dictionary classifies it as a noun.  Perhaps English majors reading this blog are cringing, but I do consider gratitude a verb; it’s the act of being grateful.  With the Christmas and New Years holidays upon us, it’s easy to forget being grateful and get caught up in the mayhem of Christmas shopping and pressure for the holidays to go smoothly.

Shopping

The Littlest E started his winter break yesterday.  He’ll have close to three weeks off from preschool, and I am grateful that I get this opportunity to spend solid time with him.  I am fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom, though I have a project I’ve been working on for a while and, while it hasn’t yet brought in any income, if I execute it properly, it could be a nice income generator, but that’s beside the point.  The point is I get the privilege of being with my son.  My husband, Tom, will be off between Christmas and New Years, so we’ll have wonderful family time.

I think before, when The Littlest E was younger, I was a bit freaked out about so much time off from school, worrying more about how to occupy our time together than the holidays.  Now that he is 4-½, he can play a bit more by himself and when we do have playdates or excursions, I don’t have to watch him so closely as when he was younger.  It’s also such a joy (most of the time) to hang out with him and be with him.  This time together is valuable to me and I know it’s fleeting.  When he’s older, he’ll have sleepovers, sports, homework, going over to friend’s houses, and, down the road, high school, college, and hopefully falling in love.  For now, for today, I get to cherish the days and moments we have together.  Mind you, it’s not all the time. We have our disagreements and struggles, our wills battling each other, like every mother and son.  Today, it was one of those lovely, cold and rainy days.  It was a day of chilling at the house after running a couple of errands.

Rain drops on my window

I was at the computer this morning, when The Littlest E got up.  Right away he wanted to watch some personal videos  on my desktop.  One of them is the video my Mom took at my friend, Krista’s house, during a Welcome Home party for our son.  We’d been a family and home from Ethiopia for a little over 3 months at that point, and The Littlest E was 15 months old.  We live in Los Angeles and were in the Bay Area.  It was the first time many friends and family got to meet our long-awaited son.  It featured the 3 of us with me thanking everyone for loving and supporting us during the 6-½ years it took for Tom and I to start a family.  To this day, I can’t watch that video without tears welling in my eyes, feeling deeply grateful to be The Littlest E’s mom, and even more profoundly grateful we adopted him.  He loves to watch it and see the living testament of our love for him.

We moved slowly today, you know, being on vacation and all.  After breakfast and doing our morning routine, we ran a couple of errands.  It’s great grocery shopping with him now because he can walk by my side (most of the time when there’s the occasionally running away) and help me pick things out and put them in the shopping cart.  He loves helping out.  By this time in the morning, the clouds turned a darker gray and they scattered rain here and there.  Once home the rain increased.  It was a good day to be inside, warm and toasty with the heat on and the Christmas tree lights plugged in.  We were both hungry for lunch so I made it and we sat at the table eating.  He wanted to play the drinking game we play on occasion.  It’s a contest to see who can drink their drink first, him with his milk or me with my soda water.  You start saying “On your mark. Get set,” but instead of saying, “Go,” you come up with another word, any word instead, and then after saying other words, you finally say “Go.”  He came up with more ideas than he’d ever come up with before, plus he’d never initiated this before so it was doubly great to watch him go to town with this and take part!  He had such a kick, too.

Tangled

When lunch was over, I promised him he could watch the movie “Tangled.”  I have to tell you and I’m sure many of you can relate, there’s nothing better than sitting next to your child with them snuggling into you while you watch a movie or reading them a story.  Again, I get teary-eyed writing this because for so many years being mom and parent eluded me.  There were many points on this journey to our family that I knew it would never happen, yet there I was sitting with my son, watching a movie, enjoying our rainy day together.  Adoption is a miraculous thing.

He’s napping now, which gives me time to write.  When the Littlest E wakes up I told him we’d make chocolate chip cookies together.  He loves to cook and can’t wait to help with that.  I, too, can’t wait.  As I’m writing this, I can see the light from the sun’s reflection on the wall of our kitchen.  The rain has ceased.  It doesn’t matter.  We’ve had our rainy day Thursday and we can continue it even though it’s not raining anymore.

There’s still a lot to do before the holidays, but this day has been a gift, some quality time with my funny, light and amazing little boy, and has been a reminder that it’s the little things in life that make it all worth while.

Christmas Lights

In case I don’t get the opportunity to write another blog before Christmas, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Images: Alan Myers, Angeli Laura De, Brett Jordan, George Deputee

© 2013 Melanie Elliott

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For many parents whose child is facing kindergarten in the coming year, it’s a slam-dunk decision.  They know their child will be old enough for kindergarten or their child is a girl and, even if she’s on the younger side, it’s known that girls mature faster than boys at this stage in life.  The decision has not been so easy for my husband and me because The Littlest E was born in the later part of July, he’s a boy, and he’s adopted.  You may be wondering what does being adopted have to do with anything?  I’ll address this in a bit.

Kindergarten

We live in Los Angeles and, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District, for the 2014-2015 school year, a child must be five by September 1, 2014, to be eligible for kindergarten.  Since The Littlest E was born in July, he’d be on the younger side if we sent him to public school kindergarten next fall.  For most private schools, the cut off date is later, so our son would be too young to start kindergarten next year anyway.  The public school in our area is not one that we are comfortable having our son attend.  We could try applying to a charter school for next year and take our chances with the lottery that he’d get into one of the schools we’d apply to, and we could also apply to the two magnet schools in our area that have kindergarten.  However, those magnet schools are exceedingly popular with over 2,000 applications for roughly 90 spots.  There’s still the question of his maturity, readiness and age.  Plus the head and assistant head of our son’s preschool both highly recommend he start later.

I was a December baby and, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), the cut off date for kindergarten was December 1st 40+ years ago.  My folks had my IQ tested and I tested high, but the testers felt I was too young to start school and that I wouldn’t fit in socially.  As a result, I was older when I started kindergarten and still had trouble fitting in socially.  My husband, on the other hand, was born in July, started school young and skipped a grade in elementary school.  He graduated high school at sixteen.  Both of us went to public schools, had differing experiences, and were open to having our son start school later.

Insulinde

Starting a child later has several names, “redshirting,” “bridging,” and the one I like is “giving the gift of time.”  There’s a controversy over redshirting kindergarteners.  If you do an Internet search, you’ll find many articles on either side of the issue.  For example, Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers” details, among other things, the benefits of redhsirting.  While “Top Dog The Science of Winning and Losing” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman examines the other side of the argument.  I have not read either book, but am providing them as resources should you want to read them.  I did read an interesting report by the PPIC, “Changing the Kindergarten Cutoff Date: Effects on California Students and Schools,” published in May 2008.  The authors looked at 14 studies and concluded there were benefits to moving the start date of kindergarten from December to September.  Coincidentally, the woman I spoke with at the PPIC had a 4-year old son born in August, and she and her husband are almost certain they will bridge their son for next year.

I know I’m getting a bit technical here, but in making the kindergarten decision I wanted to look at many viewpoints.  A friend of mine emailed me an article from The New Yorker against redshirting “Youngest Kid, Smartest Kid?” by Maria Konnikova.  The article brought up solid points about not being challenged academically as well as not being motivated if you’re an older child.  Dr. Konnikova referenced a number of studies in her article.  None of these studies, or the studies from the PPIC report, mention adoptive children.  I emailed Dr. Konnikva asking if she knew of any studies on this issue about adoptive children.  She actually sent me a lengthy reply.  She didn’t know of any studies, and she added that the bottom line is it’s a personal choice and to listen to my gut when deciding.

I bring up adoption because it factors in.  My husband and I attended a session with educators at a heritage camp we went to as a family.  In the session, the speakers talked about giving your child every advantage and how there may be latent learning issues as the child gets older and as the realities of their adoption truly sink in.  There may be grief, and other emotions that pop up that could affect learning.  Right now, we don’t see any problems with our son, but down the road, we just don’t know.  I emailed the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute inquiring if they had any research on this issue, and, as of the time of this writing, I am still awaiting a response.  I did post the question on a private Facebook group for other Ethiopian adoptive families of which I am a member and received over 40 candid and honest responses.  The majority of these responses favored having their child start later.  They had no regrets about it at all.

Having fun at school

With all this information, my husband and I finally made a decision.  We are giving our son the gift of time.  Even without the information, this was where we were leaning.  As Dr. Konnikova wrote, it’s a personal decision and my gut was saying give him the gift of time.  Another friend of mine, whose son is a couple of weeks older than The Littlest E, is sending her son to kindergarten next fall.  She and her husband feel their son is ready.  It all boils down to the simple truth that it’s a personal decision for each family.  I feel like we’re doing right by our son in giving him this opportunity.  I also believe that when the time comes, we’ll choose the elementary school that’s best for him.  In the meantime, he gets to experience life at his preschool and continue his love of learning.

Images: Kevin Jarrett, Mark Ou, Melanie Elliott

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While I jog in the mornings after I drop The Littlest E off at preschool, I use that time to let my mind wander and see what thoughts come my way.  Since the acquittal of George Zimmerman, I’ve thought (as I’m sure have many others in the United States and around the world) about race and the problems we have with race in our country.  I’ve always cared about injustice and inequality, for women, minorities, and the LGBT community.  However, since my husband, Tom, and I adopted our son from Ethiopia three years ago, I pay even closer attention.

When the story broke last year that an innocent, unarmed 17-year old boy named Trayvon Martin was murdered while walking home one night that most certainly got my attention.  I followed the story, even wrote a blog about it, and when the trial commenced last month, I sat riveted watching the trial unfold.  I have a hard time understanding how Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted, but I don’t live in Florida, and I wasn’t in the courtroom, nor was I on the jury.  Only 2 people know what really happened that night.  One of them is dead and the other will have to live with his actions for the rest of his life.

Rally for Trayvon Martin 24

The acquittal caused a firestorm of legal arguments from both sides and at the center of it, race.  Thankfully, the race dialogue hasn’t stopped since the trial ended.  President Barack Obama made a speech about race a week after the verdict and commented (I’m paraphrasing) on how a disproportionate number of African American males are victims of and responsible for crimes.  He also mentioned (again paraphrasing) that most African American males, at one time or another, have felt the brunt end of the effects of their color – like someone moving away from them walking down the street, or someone clutching a purse in an elevator.   He recently went on The Tonight Show and elaborated a bit more on race with Jay Leno.  Melissa Harris-Perry did a segment on her show on MSNBC on how to talk to your children in the wake of the acquittal and featured a mostly African American panel.  In each of these interviews, there was a sense of hope that when dealing with race we are, as Melissa Harris-Perry put it, “Building coalitions that are broad.”

Around the time of the trial, another appalling thing happened having to do with General Mills and a lovely, innocent commercial for the cereal Cheerios.  It’s now on television and YouTube aired it as well.  It featured a cute little girl asking her mom if her dad was correct in Cheerios being good for your heart.  The mom replies, yes, and in the next brief scene, you see the dad lying on a couch with his heart and chest area covered in Cheerios.  Here’s a link to the commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6yzITiMSJ0.  It’s cute, right?  Nice, attractive family.  Lovely commercial, except when General Mills posted it on YouTube, they had to take down the comments because of the hatred and vitriol toward them for featuring a transracial family.  I know racism still exists in this country, but slamming a TV commercial for something like this?  The outcry from this racial hatred was immense.  Many mixed race and transracial groups posted pictures of their diverse families holding boxes of Cheerios on Facebook pages and websites, including MASC (Multi Racial Americans of Southern California).  Bravo General Mills for continuing to air this harmless commercial about a healthy cereal.

Cheerios (Old School)

The Trayvon Martin murder and the hateful comments about the Cheerios commercial are harsh reminders that race is still a big issue in this country.  I’m grateful that the dialogue is continuing.  My son is only 4, and he’s such a spirited and beautiful child who lights up a room when he enters it, with his big brown eyes and bright smile that goes from ear to ear.  There’s going to come a time when he goes from being this charming little boy who everyone loves, to being the young man who women hide their purse from.  My heart will break the day he comes home and says to us that something like this happened to him, whether at school, on his way home, or God forbid being stopped by the police for no reason while he’s driving.  I hope and pray that attitudes and beliefs change by the time The Littlest E is 17.

Eventually we will have to talk with him about what he can and cannot do in public as an African American male.  Here’s a list I’ve compiled so far:

  • He can’t run in public because that’ll look suspicious.
  • He can’t run with something in his hand in public for someone may get the wrong idea.
  • He can’t walk too slowly because someone may think he’s casing out a place.
  • He can’t wear a hoodie because of what hoodies represent, yet I know people who’ve been stopped by police while driving for no reason and they were wearing suits.
  • If he gets stopped, always be respectful to police officers and say as little as possible.

Million Hoodies March

It’s  our job as parents to educate our son when the time comes, and it’s a delicate balance we’ll be striking.  We want to give him the facts, while guiding him not to be defensive or have a chip on his shoulder because of these present realities.  Who knows how it will go.  We made a conscious decision to adopt a black child, knowing he would be welcomed and loved by our family, but we can’t possibly share with him the African American experience since my husband and I are white.  We can teach him the history of race relations in our country, where it started and how far our nation has come.  We can continue to enrich our lives with diversity and make sure he has mentors to whom he can turn if needed.   If we are good stewards, we’ll have nurtured within him his spirit and self-confidence so, hopefully, if  an incident happens, it won’t diminish who he is.

Class Picture

Getting back to Ms. Harris-Perry’s comment on broad coalitions, there was an outcry from the spectrum of colors in Sanford, Florida after the verdict was read, so perhaps things are changing.  And, there’s a wonderful video on YouTube on kids’ reactions to the Cheerios commercial.  You can watch it by clicking on this sentence.  What lifts my spirits is that these children see color, but it doesn’t matter to them.  It’s no biggie and they’re astonished that someone would be hateful toward the family just because the dad is black.  That is hopeful.  I look at my son’s preschool class and he has classmates from different races that come from all kinds families (single parent, parents of the same sex, divorced and married).  His class represents a microcosm of our country today, and the kids are the richer for it.  This generation of children will be our future.  My ongoing hope is that this spirit of diversity and acceptance continues throughout their lifetimes so that by the time they are all 17, the racial divide will be a miniscule crack.

Images: Ryan Varsi, theimpulsivebuy, Elvert Barnes, Heather Temske

Post Script: In honor of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, please check out this amazing tribute at http://www.time.com/onedream/.

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